We by tradition have not been a sea going clan. While there are those of us who love the sea, or water of any kind, still or flowing, while there are those in our ranks who enjoy 'messing about in boats', it has not been something engaged in as a profession.
It is one thing to watch sea epics, the heroics of Horatio Hornblower and the like. It is quite another thing to have a precious young member of the family deployed on a troupe ship in order to sail beyond our horizon.
That is the reality of this day and I find my heart filled with the pride of the honor of this young warrior and his willingness to serve our country. But also there is, in my very dusty humanity, the presence of anxious thoughts. There is also the overwhelming sadness that I know this going and the separation that is to follow brings to those I love.
This is not a new story, this going down to the sea in ships, leaving loved ones behind. It is as old as history itself. It just has a very different color to it when it become your story, our story.
So off our dear lad goes in this new year. With this will come new challenges for him and his young bride. There will be much to learn in the months ahead. My great comfort is in the certainty that both know their God, are secure in their love for each other, and in His sovereignty and care.
And we at home will follow these every day with our prayers, as they grow in this new season of their lives. We pray Mercy to cover, Everlasting Arms to hold, Grace to strengthen and comfort.
Holy Father, in Thy mercy
Hear our anxious prayer,
Keep our loved ones, now far absent,
'Neath Thy care.
Jesus, Savior, let Thy presence
Be their light and guide;
Keep, oh, keep them, in their weakness,
At Thy side.
When in sorrow, when in danger
When in loneliness,
In Thy love look down and comfort
May the joy of Thy salvation
Be their strength and stay,
May they love and may they praise Thee
Day by day.
Holy spirit, let Thy teaching
Sanctify their life;
Send Thy grace, that they may conquer
in the strife.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God the One in Three,
Bless them, guide them, save them, keep them
Near to Thee. Amen
[Hymns Ancient and Modern #595]